Across the Airwaves

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In the summer edition of Evergreen I wrote about my love of radio, which I know is something that is shared by many readers and is the subject of one of our regular features "On the Air". This week I was given the opportunity to take to the airwaves and talk about the magazine (click here to order our autumn issue) on a marvellous station called Angel Radio (www.angelradio.co.uk), which is based in Havant, Hampshire.

Established in 1993, Angel caters specially for the older generation and, just like Evergreen, cherishes nostalgia and meandering down memory lane. Tony Smith, the founder of this fantastic and worthwhile venture, was the man behind the microphone and we chatted for well over an hour on the phone. In between, Tony played some wonderful tunes from yesteryear, and requests for Angel's loyal listeners, sung by the likes of Dame Vera Lynn, The Beverley Sisters and themes from favourite radio and television programmes including "Dixon of Dock Green" (“Evenin’ all.”) and “The Archers”.

It was a lovely way to spend a Wednesday morning and Angel, which can be heard broadcasting in the UK and worldwide, offers a warm welcome. During our chat, which included a challenging competition for listeners to win subscriptions to Evergreen, Tony mentioned that there were people tuning in from across the UK as well as America, Canada, Spain and even Israel.

That idea of reaching out to people so far away sums up for me the magic and romance of radio. It has the ability to connect us through conversation and music. Radio rates higher in our affections and achieves a much stronger bond between audience and broadcaster than television. I think much of this is to do with the power and character of the human voice, the music played and the audience's imagination - especially when listening to drama. The listener is fully engaged and plays an active part in what is happening on air. Television, on the other hand, can seem like a brash, unruly upstart - effervescing with endless eye-popping imagery -and desperately clamouring for your attention. Radio is a far more personal medium; a dear friend and a gentle companion.

Communicating, connecting and sharing past experiences with people enhances our lives no end. We realise this with the emails, letters and telephone calls that we receive in our office and it is always interesting to see which articles in each issue strike a chord with readers. Sometimes it can be a journey to a particular place we are visiting, a photograph, song, film, book, television or radio programme that rekindles those recollections.

One of the questions Tony asked me was about how Evergreen is available in this hi-tech era. I was delighted to inform his that, much as we celebrate traditional ways, we also embrace the present and look to the future with the ways that readers can enjoy Evergreen. As well as our marvellous print editions, which have been rolling off the presses since spring 1985 (Has anyone still got a copy of that first edition?), it is now possible to purchase a downloadable subscription to read on a digital device (click here for details). Meanwhile, our website allows readers of both Evergreen and This England to keep in touch with what we're up to between our quarterly issues. In addition to our weekly blogs, there's the regular newsletter to sign up for (click here) and our Facebook page too.

All this makes you realise how centuries of technology - from the printing press to the radio transmitter and now the internet - have helped to bring us together, keep us in touch and make the world seem a much smaller place. As Evergreen's readers and Angel's listeners show, tradition and technology can work together in perfect harmony and help to bring some sunshine into your life.

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